Sam

Solace in tap + Extra

In Dance, Random, Rant on March 5, 2015 at 2:44 am

Solace in tap

I booked a night for myself, Studio 4, me and my shoes. I didn’t want to see anyone – I wanted to be alone. I had an hour playing with rhythm – started slow but got into it, I’m slowly improving but long way to go. I felt much more confident than three sessions ago… rhythm is about knowing which part of your foot to use – to make the sound you want – with the music you’re hearing. You shade the steps, like you would play the drums or strum the guitar. It’s tuning to the sound, heel drops and stamps are heavy and snappy shuffles are sharp, there are so many ways to play rhythm, imagine swimming in possibilities, I’m blindly exploring the sounds of my feet. It’s a wonderful feeling to listen to a track and get into the groove of it, at the moment it doesn’t sound great but I’m gradually finding a rhythm here and there. The trick is continuity, I can’t stop… my hesitations should be turned into pauses or hand claps, the count must go on… I always stop to find myself when I should really carry on. It’s ok to mess up but always carry on! 

I have been slack with my drop shuffles, didn’t know why until tonight, I haven’t been using height. Basically I got lazy and did the bare minimum to drop-shuffle, sounds awful. I attempted with better core action and height, instantly my steps sounded way better. I concentrated on toe-pickups, and sadly no success yet. Toe-pullbacks I can just about do it, but no drop, shuffle, toe-pickups… nope! At the moment it’s the impossible challenge. I kept trying with little success, the front of the foot is unwilling to snap back… there’s a method somewhere, just gotta find it. I tried wings and they came easier, still not the best but they’re coming, I have the single wings to face next… I felt heavy to be honest, I haven’t been using my core at all. I’ll be conscious of it next time, it’ll wear me out quicker but I reckon it will also improve me drastically… it’s a game-changer! 

It was an hour and half, mixed with strenuous exercises and rhythm. It felt amazing, just what I needed. Took my mind off everything. On Monday I was afraid of falling out of love with tap but tonight was a reminder of why I’m in love with tap, it takes me on a journey!

I want more…

Aftermath from yesterday…

I was still fuming when I got into work earlier. I spent nearly 8 hours venting my anger and jotting notes – I finished at 2am. Not sure when or if I should blog it… it’s VERY long, VERY detailed… and VERY personal.

I still couldn’t look the individual in the eye. I continued with my job in a professional manner and stuck to that… I responded when necessary, and he’s been very polite. It didn’t matter anymore, the final straw was yesterday, I had such a shit day – I was emotionally wrecked.

Was pulled in for another chat with the Creative Director, apparently the letter is now downgraded from an official warning to just a letter. I mean what the hell? What was the point then?! Also the HR guy seem to think the letter will draw a line in the sand. What the fuck?! I had absolutely no defence! Accusations were laid against me – I will dispute all the points except for time keeping. How can the HR guy think we can end it like this?! I HAD NO SAY!

I was quite emotional last night, it was too much even for me. My mind is clear now, regrettably I have to ensure my own wellbeing. My Creative Director, said anything I do will affect everyone in the company – as opposed to just affecting me?! I’m sorry to everybody there, I don’t want it to affect them but I can’t see another way, I can’t let it go or let it be swept under. I’m so sick of it.

What was the formal talk for? Why get the Creative Director involved? All for nothing? A mistake? I’ll fulfil their requests and be there on time – not even a minute late, I should also go on time as well, not a minute more.

It’s all so stupid and avoidable. He just pushed me over the edge, I just… have to stand up against bullying.

I can’t suffer in silence any longer.

R.I.P. Grandma…

In Family, Random, Rant on March 3, 2015 at 11:55 pm

I am absolutely livid, I’m incensed, my heartbeat is pounding out of my chest and the sight of him disgusts me to the core – I’m also deeply upset that my current feelings overshadow Granny’s passing. I’m angry that I can’t mourn Grandma because all I can think about now – is the utterly stupid situation at work…

Goodbye Mah Mah

My Whatsapp kept going off really early in this morning, I usually ignore them but for some reason I decided to check. Dad said Granny passed away peacefully at 7am in the morning.

I closed my eyes and felt nothing – I don’t know why I had nothing but I was empty. I didn’t think or process anything – I tried to keep my eyes closed and remain in that state. I can’t remember how long for because work time was approaching. I couldn’t bear to get up or move – the thought of the urgent brochure at work did creep into me, they would need me to work on it. I had to go in. I informed them I will be late, I was shattered and numb.

Soon Dad rang me from Hong Kong, we had a lengthy chat. Granny was coughing up blood in the evening so they took her to A&E, sadly with an overcrowded HK health service, there’s a transitional period to wait for a room – it’s the norm. Dad stayed with her until 11pm, she was not in pain, and she was fine chatting to fellow patients. As with the lack of space, there are very limited facilities for visitors and she was comfortable and on morphine, so Dad bid goodbye and went back to the flat to rest. At 7am this morning just as he was about to go back, the call came. Granny passed peacefully in her sleep…

And that’s how life ends, with a whimper.

Last week was her 92nd birthday, talk about perseverance and willpower! The incredible thing was her mind, she was still her – not half of her, she was the whole of her. I’m thinking back to the last time I heard her voice… she couldn’t hear me on the phone, she was gasping for breath and I was mad at Dad. I was. He interrupted while I was working… and I was busy, you see… why did I get mad? What was the point in being so professional about my job when at the moment they’re wrecking my emotional health. That was the last time I heard her voice – I was too dedicated to get on with work that I didn’t speak to her… what the fuck, was the fucking point to care about a job that doesn’t give a flying shitty fuck about me?!

I’m sorry but I am ANGRY

I got up after speaking to Dad, then Mum, I had a quick glance of Granny in the photo album – I choked a little but closed it and walked to work. I was in a daze and when someone mentioned it, I choked again… I knew my emotions were on the verge. I passed the morning ok, there were a lot of condolences on social media – they lifted me a little. I had little time to think about Granny, how she brought me up in Germany, how she used to force-dress me in bed when I didn’t want to go to school in the morning, how she would laugh at my jokes. Yes, we drifted apart as I grew older, I have fragments of beautiful moments – little reminders of our time together. In 2011 I promised to go back to visit… I failed. I still remember her tears as we went through the departure gate, she knew us too well, she already knew we won’t be back.

Now she’s gone, she left when nobody was at her side, when all alone in the hospital’s A&E. They said she died peacefully – I wish I could truly believe that. She deserves so much more than we’ve given her. The only solace I have, Dad is bringing her ashes back to the UK, we’ll be able to say goodbye to her. I hope in my heart she knows that, I know we weren’t there… I’m so sorry.

Thank you for raising us Granny, I was a rebellious kid and you had to put up with so much. I remember you crying over me out of frustration, I was on the floor looking up at you on the chair, I remember the handkerchief in your hand and you were saying all those things to me – how I have pushed you to tears, I was so difficult and stubborn. I’m sorry for fighting. Thank you for your patience, thank you for teaching me Cantonese and thank you for being there at such crucial time in our lives. I’m sorry I didn’t visit more. I’m sorry for being angry.

You’re forever in my heart

:(

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Part 2: Hidden for now.

Tap & Jazz

In Dance on March 2, 2015 at 11:59 pm

We’re in March already and although it’s brighter on the way out of work, it’s too cold for my liking – arctic wind says it all. I was extremely surprised today when someone informed me of my blog – I may have over-estimated my ability to hide from Google. I used to advertise this but stopped nearly three years ago, and I have no links to this place, I don’t publicise it, I don’t use names (or try not to!) – how they found me is baffling. I can’t find myself on search even with key words… I suppose my online footprint can always be found with a lot of digging, or luck. So, the question is… who was the source? Where did the chain of event start and spread? And how long have they known?

What can I say and what is my right to say what I want to say?
Questions, questions… I’m intrigued though.

Tap

I had two nights off from tap this week, I didn’t want to do it but a combination of work-stress and shin splints made my decision a little easier. I push myself with 300 quick-shuffles front, left and back every night – my left shin particularly started to rebel at the 7 days-a-week workload. I’m happy to say my feet responded well tonight in contrast to last week’s poor showing. 

I was pretty focussed in class, and it’s given me an incentive to make March a better month, a more progressive month because I feel like I’m not caring about tap anymore. When I hear music I’m not urged to tap, I’ve been so tired… and I don’t want to be. I always had a consistent level of energy, and I would know when it’s dropped. So, a sharp intake of breath and let’s go for it. Dig yourself out. 

I had a fun night, I had a better across-the-room, much more in control (could be better still!), and the toe-pickups just got serious – we were all asked to do it. Hmm better get back into the studio, there’s only so much I can do on my kitchen floor. This Thursday? Yeh, need to work on my leaps, gotta move forward! You know, by thinking about this challenge I’m exciting again. I know it’s caused by chemicals in my brain, but I need those triggers – they’re like things hidden in the air and when I find it… it’s bob on.

We bit into the final session of the current routine, I quite enjoyed it – well, the bits that I can remember, I lagged on some transitional steps because I stood too far back. I shouldn’t rely on my eyes really but my memory is so daft sometimes. I can run the whole sequence with visual clues in certain parts, maybe I need to train myself to let that go? It’s the thinking ahead that gets me, especially nearing the end where the fresher steps are – concentration is what I need. Find the balance of concentration and fun, surely I must be capable of that? No time for doubts! Focus… that steely focus, come to me.

Yes, I expect a good tap month, March on!

Jazz

Laura is back! A new… latin flavoured warm-up routine, very salsa-esque. I don’t remember being so stiff when I was in Copacabana (now tragically closed forever), I wasn’t wearing my groove pants. Or, the fact I haven’t ‘gyrated’ my hips like that for a long time – you don’t salsa unless in a specifically selected environment. Took me a few rounds to get going, move it old man! 

As usual the sit-ups, LOVED them… it’s the only other exercise I get every week! No pain no gain, correct? The across the room was good, I tried to work my arms and messed up my footwork, my floppy limbs don’t flow naturally yet – I need that muscle memory. It’s there, on the verge of my hard drive… loading at 85%. I was pretty awkward at my side kicks – they felt more kung-fu than jazz, I haven’t looked in the mirror – need to see where I’m going wrong!

The routine was from ‘All That Jazz’, brilliant movie but struggled to body wiggle. How I pose in my mind is not necessarily the same match to how I’m actually posing! I admire Laura’s agility and lightness, I felt cumbersome but that’s because my body shape/legs/arms/shoulder/head were in the wrong positions! It’s like articulating a toy figure… if you don’t get it right it’d fall over, I needed that giant hand to put me right. I also tried to concentrate but there’s no sass when I do that – was I feeling the music? Sort of… I’m not good at hips, I gave it a shot but… nah, just not my track!

I’m happy to say my knees held out, I mean we didn’t do anything that impacted my joints. It’s like a battle against time isn’t it? Hair loss and joints and hilarity along the way – if I can’t self-deprecate I’d be miserable! (Is self-deprecate even a word?)

Welcome back Laura, it’s a good one tonight! 

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